Letters

Letters 8-18-2014

The Climate Clarified

Climate change isn’t an easy subject. A class I’m taking compared it to medicine in a way that was helpful for me: Climate scientists are like planetary physicians. Our understanding of medicine is incomplete, but what we know is useful...

Beware Non-Locally Grown

The article “Farm Fresh?” couldn’t be any more true than exactly stated. As an avid shopper at the local farm markets I want to know “exactly” what I am buying, from GMO free to organic or not organic, sprayed or not sprayed and with what...

Media Bias Must End

I wish to thank Joel Weberman for his letter “Seeking Balanced Israel Coverage.” The pro-Palestinian bias includes TV news coverage...

Proud of My President

The world is a mess. According to many conservative voices, it would not be in such a mess if Obama was not the president. I am finally understanding that the problem with our president is that he is too thoughtful, too rational, too realistic, too inclined to see things differently and change his mind, too compassionate to be the leader of a free world...

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Monday, January 3, 2011

The eBook Revolution

Books Harley L. Sachs The eBook Revolution
By Harley L. Sachs
The electronic book has finally come into its own, and chances are you
may even have received one under the Christmas tree this year, with an
estimated 6.6 million ebook readers sold in 2010.
If you are one of the electronically challenged, an ebook is read on
a screen instead of being printed on paper. An ebook, digital magazine
or newspaper can be downloaded off the Internet to your PC, Mac,
Kindle, Nook, iPad, or any number of screen gadgets, even in some
instances to your digital phone. Not everyone wants to read a novel on
a tiny cell phone screen, but times are a-changing.
 
Monday, November 15, 2010

Yooper recipes

Dining Harley L. Sachs Yooper Recipes: A taste for porcupine, beaver & rotten pheasant
By Harley Sachs
We just went through our book shelves and gave a box of cook books to Goodwill that we had acquired but never used. Someone will no doubt snap them up.
One is my favorite is the 1978 edition of “Favorite Recipes” published by the local Copper Country chapter of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. It may be a national club, but the recipes are clearly Yooper. This is not your hamburger and steak cook book. This is not about Cajun spices or things kosher. You won’t fine New York style clam chowder in this book.
You won’t find chocolate covered ants or fried grasshoppers, either. No smoked oysters, No Mississippi crawdads. No Chicago style hot dogs. No Scottish haggis.
 
Monday, July 12, 2010

Peekaboo Drones

Features Harley L. Sachs Peekaboo Drones on the prowl
By Harley L. Sachs
If you travel to England these days you will be under police
surveillance, but you knew that. London is reputed to have about
45,000 surveillance cameras. Some of the video clips were broadcast in
the follow-up to the London subway bombings. Sifted out of millions of
frames of video, the clips showed the bombers doing their practice
runs, etc. But now the British cops have another tool, the AR100B
surveillance flying drone made by the AirRobot company.
 
Monday, June 14, 2010

Backing Up the Backups

Features Harley L. Sachs Backing Up the Backups/ Three times is the charm, just in case...
A sure path to the psychiatrist’s office is the nightmare of anyone who experienced a hard drive crash. It’s that ubiquitous computer thing again. We shouldn’t be surprised, but we tend to take machines for granted. Hard drives are mechanical. If you’ve ever seen the innards of one, it’s a disk, even a stack of disks, spinning at perhaps 5,500 rpm. A little oscillating arm tracks back and forth over the surface of the spinning disk reading the information on the magnetic surface. The problem is, the pickup arm is so close to the spinning surface that a few microns of cigarette smoke can interfere with it.
 
Monday, May 3, 2010

An Ocean without fish

Features Harley L. Sachs An Ocean Without Fish
Forget global warming -- carbonic acid could spell ‘curtains’
When we think of acid we may think of acetic acid (vinegar), battery acid (sulfuric), and even ascorbic acid (vitamin C), the last of which is used as a preservative and puts the zing in certain candies kids love. But chances are, we don’t think of carbonic acid, the result of the ionization of CO2, which puts the bite in carbonated drinks. Yet carbonic acid could well mean the end of the human race.
Whether you believe that global warming is a man-made phenomenon or a natural cycle of earth’s evolving climate changes, one issue is certain and alarming. It’s the impact of carbonic acid, the acidification of the oceans because of CO2 emissions. Since the Industrial Revolution began, the production of CO2 through the burning of fossil fuels has increased enormously and about a third of it has been absorbed by the oceans. We’re talking millions of tons.
 
Monday, April 19, 2010

Living off the grid

Features Harley L. Sachs What would you do if the power company demanded $37,000 to set up a
one-mile line to your house in the woods? Not only that, but the
specifications required cutting a 20-foot wide swath so that overhanging
branches wouldn’t hit the wires, creating an ugly gap in the woods.
 
Monday, April 12, 2010

Piezoelectricity

Features Harley L. Sachs Piezoelectricity: Power under pressure
You probably never heard of piezoelectricity but you have used it if you have an outdoor grill with a push-button igniter. The phenomenon gets its name from the Greek word piezo which means push. Push on a ceramic crystal and you get a spark of electricity which, in the case of your grill or the gas/electric refrigerator in your camper, ignites the propane. It’s a strange phenomenon which may someday become a source of electricity by harnessing the pressure exerted on highways or railway tracks.
This phenomenon was first discovered and described by Pierre and Jacques Curie in 1880. It was then just a laboratory curiosity, but it later found application in microphones, which employ electric energy created by the pressure of sound waves on crystals.
 
Monday, December 7, 2009

The sheet rock scandal

Features Harley L. Sachs The Sheet Rock Scandal
Chinese drywall causes homeowner headaches
By Harley L. Sachs
Is your house booby-trapped by deadly sheet rock? Sheet rock is what
the inner walls of your dwelling space are made of.
 
Monday, October 5, 2009

Extinct no longer

Features Harley L. Sachs Extinct No Longer
The quest to recover the Tasmanian tiger
By Erin Crowell 10/5/09


It’s hard to argue that police work is not the usual nine-to-five job. It’s a career of long, lonely hours, dealing with unique situations and people. We hear about them in the news – the routine traffic stop gone wrong, the burglar who got away, the standoff lasting hours. But, what we rarely hear about are the personal stories of those officers, the good stories – the ordinary, the extraordinary, and for some, the unexplainable.
Ingrid Dean, a 20-year veteran of the Michigan State Police, gathered some of those stories and wrote a book: Spirit of the Badge: 60 True Police Stories of Divine Guidance, Miracles, & Intuition. Released on October 1, the book is a collection of first-hand, written accounts by police officers from around the country. While some stories may be interpreted in the realm of the paranormal and the divine, all show a side of law enforcement we rarely get to see.
Dean – who has served as a field detective for there years, was a polygraph examiner for 12 years and worked the road for six – is currently a detective sergeant and forensic artist for the Seventh District Michigan State Police Post in Traverse City.
The Express recently sat down with Dean and asked her more about the book and the goings-on behind the badge.
 
Monday, September 21, 2009

Saving our history

Features Harley L. Sachs Saving Our History
What happens if our digital
records get wiped out?

Harley L. Sachs 9/21/09

With the Internet buzzing with warnings about the threat from Iran or Korea of an EMP -- a destructive “electromagnetic pulse” -- that could disrupt America’s electrical grid, shut down communications, and wipe out all electronic circuitry and digital files, there’s a genuine risk that we can lose not only our current computer files, but our history.
If the entire digital store of human knowledge went up in smoke tomorrow, how would we know how to make anything? Without permanent records, the knowledge on how to do everything from smelting iron ore to building nuclear power plants would be lost.
 
Monday, September 7, 2009

The espresso book machine

Features Harley L. Sachs The Espresso Book Machine
But it Doesn’t Make Coffee!
Harley Sachs 9/7/09
For a gag once I hoped to glue the spigot from a coffee machine to the side of my desktop computer with a sign “coffee” and a little card saying “out of order” in case someone thought my computer -- besides doing so much -- could also make coffee. Now there is an Espresso Book Machine (EBM) that was chosen by Time magazine as “Best Invention of 2007.” It prints books on demand. Unfortunately, it’s not in Traverse City yet or anywhere in Michigan. But that day is coming.
It was only a matter of time before the ordinary office copy machine would be upgraded to not only print downloaded digitized documents, but also to do a cover and the binding as well: an entire paperback book.
The Espresso Book Machine (EBM) of which there are about a dozen now operating (most of them abroad) will print you a book in about four to seven minutes, before your coffee gets cold. In fact, the plan is to put these machines in coffee shops so you can buy a latte and have the book of your choice printed while you wait.
 
Monday, July 20, 2009

New options for solar power

Features Harley L. Sachs New Options for
Solar Power
We need cheaper and more
diverse solutions

Harley L. Sachs 7/20/09


Solar panels can be as small as the tiny one on your light-charged pocket
calculator; but there are new developments that promise to provide more
significant supplies of electricity.
 
Monday, May 4, 2009

Preparing for Michigan‘s Pandemic

Features Harley L. Sachs Preparing for Michigan‘s Pandemic
Harley L. Sachs 5/4/09
If you think the government has been asleep at the switch regarding a pandemic, be reassured. This year, Michigan’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and the Michigan Department of Community Health mailed an insert to businesses around the state about an expected pandemic.
I’ve written about pandemics before, primarily in my thriller “Scratch—out!” in which a terrorist group tries to kill everyone in the USA with a biological warfare agent. The reason why such a weapon is not used is that it is uncontrollable once it gets loose and causes a pandemic. It’s like the poison gas used by the Germans in World War I. If the wind changes, it blows back in your face.
Swine flu is not a biological warfare agent, but it could be a pandemic, as in the sudden outbreak of an epidemic that affects a broad area, ranging from a region to the entire world.
 
Monday, February 23, 2009

Flash: Tankless hot water heaters

Features Harley L. Sachs Flash: Tankless hot water heaters
Harley L. Sachs 2/23/09

It’s easy to forget, living in a Great Lakes state, that many millions of people in the world lack that most precious resource -- fresh water. In Bangladesh, even water from newly-dug wells is tainted with arsenic. One of the dreary, back-breaking chores of women and girls in Africa is to walk miles every day to fetch a few gallons of unsafe water for cooking and drinking. In parts of the world lacking safe water, dysentery and cholera are common; yet we take an abundance of water for granted.
 
Monday, February 23, 2009

Your energy resources

Features Harley L. Sachs Your energy resources
Harley L. Sachs 2/23/09

Most of the energy you need lies beneath your feet and in the sky above, and there’s no need to create CO2 to utilize it. As any cave explorer can tell you, the average temperature of the earth in Michigan is about 45 degrees F. Drawing upon it, you can heat or cool your house.
Take geothermal energy: An engineering professor at Michigan Tech University sought out the longest flexible plastic pipe he could find so each would make a loop in the soil without a vulnerable joint. He buried a number of plastic pipe loops in his yard, bringing the ends into the basement and connecting them with a heat exchanger. Filled with many gallons of antifreeze, the underground radiator thus formed could be tapped for the temperature of the earth.
 
 
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